05 January 2015

The Asia 'ripple effect'


My name is Scott Bouvier. I am a partner in the Sydney office. I am an intellectual property and technology lawyer and also head up the firm's agribusiness practice.

AQ means that we can provide additional value to clients looking to do business in Asia. We can provide not only the important China and Australia legal analysis, but also the cultural judgements and the business understanding that will really help them get their deal done.

King & Wood Mallesons has a huge advantage because we can access the right people quickly who understand the legal and the commercial environment in China. We can work closely with clients and provide them with insights from our experience on similar deals. Essentially, we can do something that no other law firm can do.

I am very excited about agribusiness and the opportunities for Australia, but also throughout Asia in terms of growing more food which is critical and improving food quality.

It is well recognised that there is a rising middle class in Asia who want access to high quality food with more protein and dairy. There are a lot of deals around that and opportunities for people to invest.

What I have learnt so far is there is a tremendous amount of interest in investing in Australia agriculture and doing trade with Australia. There is a lot of genuine interest in pursuing collaborative opportunities. There is an element among these businesses that want to buy things, but there is also the management side of things too.

There is recognition that people are looking to work with experts in Australian farming and the desire for a win:win opportunity.

I think that there is tremendous excitement in China about the prospects of getting more Australian meat and dairy and fruit into China. These conversations are at an early stage, and there is more learning and building relationships to do, and looking to do good deals.

I would like to give you an example. I did some meetings in Ji'nan with some food and agribusiness companies. I was there with two other [KWM] Chinese partners, one of which was not able to speak English. At the first meeting I did most of the talking with the assistance of a translator.

Very quickly, the non-English speaking partner understood what was required and by the second meeting most of the conversation was delivered by this partner because within one meeting she understood the Australian food and agribusiness story.

Now we have a very senior partner in the Xiandong Province who can talk directly to Australian food and agribusiness clients. And, the same works in reverse for Australian partners too. We are all quick learners and are learning to understand one another's message and we are able to replicate that.

I think this has an amazing 'ripple effect'.

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A Guide to Doing Business in China

We explore the key issues being considered by clients looking to unlock investment opportunities in the People’s Republic of China.

Doing Business in China
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